Theatre Department raising money for Autism Speaks with Performance Showcase


Mary Galkowski

Studies of Music Theatre students junior Jake Barton, seniors Sidney Baker, Tristan Johnson and Tanner Caldwell rehearse their song for the Performance Showcase.

The acts are the student’s choice, they are unknown to the public and are only rehearsed one day before the show: the Performance Showcase is back.

The Theatre Department’s Third Annual Performance Showcase is on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the theatre. Each ticket costs $5. The showcase raises money for Autism Speaks.

“It has always supported Autism Speaks. We have had several students who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder be very successful in theatre classes as well as in productions and on the Improv Team. Research has proven that theatre is very successful at fostering and supporting socio-emotional development and adjustment for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and [I thought] what better way to help fund research and awareness than to do a fundraiser,” theatre teacher Amie Gossett said.

West Alumni will be helping the technical side of the event and theatre classes will be presenting what they have been working on in class.

“The alumni work at a discounted price for the event, and all proceeds made after paying off that cost will be donated to Autism Speaks and the Studies of Musical Theatre class helps put together this event,” Gossett said. “I think it is important to allow students to perform pieces of their own choosing in a cabaret-type setting to showcase all the talent we have in the department.”

Senior Tristan Johnson and freshman Tanner Caldwell practice their song for the Performance Showcase.
Mary Galkowski
Seniors Tristan Johnson and Tanner Caldwell practice their song for the Performance Showcase.

The show will have 21 scenes, monologues and songs from various performers and will be split into two acts. It will include a variety of musical, dance and acting performances.

“I am doing a duet from the show Assassins, a solo from Les Mis, a variety of songs from the TV show Friends and a quartet from the show Spring Awakening. It’s a showcase to display our talent and one of them is something that I am doing at our state conference so I need to practice,” senior Sidney Baker said.

Performers are required for practice their acts on their own, rather than with a director.

“I have been practicing in class and at home. I listen to the tracks and listen and dance to it. I’m excited; people can see what the theatre department is made of. All the proceeds go to Autism Speaks, and then another part of it is to just showcase student talent, because not everyone always gets into shows so not everyone gets to see certain people. I would hope we will make $500 or above, because that’s about how much we made last time,” Baker said.

Many theatre department members use the Performance Showcase to rehearse for the International Thespian Society (ITS) Conference in January, as well as other audition and performance opportunities.

“I’m doing two contrasting monologues to practice for my scholarship auditions at our state conference and for my college auditions. I’m doing a monologue from George Gibbs, who is a character from Our Town, which we did last year as a mainstage, and I’m doing another one about a guy who gives his daughter away to a man and then tries to convince the man to give him money,” senior Koel Branson said. “I’m excited because it’s my first time doing a monologue alone on stage. I’m scared, but I’m expecting to learn a lot I want to raise a lot of money for Autism Speaks.”